How to Begin Your Speech (Public Speaking 103) /// The Art of Selecting the Perfect Opener | Armando Cuervo | Skillshare

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How to Begin Your Speech (Public Speaking 103) /// The Art of Selecting the Perfect Opener

teacher avatar Armando Cuervo, Public Speaker and Gentleman!

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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. Criteria for the Perfect Opener

    • 3. Opening Techniques # 1 & 2

    • 4. Opening Techniques # 3, 4 & 5

    • 5. Opening Techniques # 6 & 7 + Misc

    • 6. Openers to Avoid

    • 7. Pro-Tips

    • 8. Conclusion on How to Start your Speech

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About This Class

Public Speaking 103:

How to Begin Your Speech  //  The Art of Selecting the Perfect Opener

A first impression is usually the most important moment in any interaction, rather it's a business deal or a first date. --> A speech is no different, except that the "First Impression" has a different name and it's called the "opener."

In this course, we will be covering the first “”Element” of your speech, normally called the Introduction, primarily focusing on Part B of the Intro section which is to "Capture the audience’s Interest" AKA “the opening or opener.”

PLEASE NOTE:  If this all sounds a bit foreign to you, I recommend checking out my other Public Speaking course, PS 101: How to Outline and Write your First Speech for the basics.

Topics to be cover in this video class will be:

A. The Criteria for a Successful Opener

B. Opening Techniques that you should use:

  1.  Make a startling statement.
  2.  State the importance of your topic.
  3.  Arouse suspense or curiosity
  4.  Tell a story or anecdote
  5.  Ask a rhetorical question
  6.  Use a Quote
  7.  Reference the occasion
  8.  Other Techniques

C. Opening Techniques that you should not use:

  1.  Admitting a lack of preparation
  2.  Apologizing or Promising to “Be Quick”
  3.  Being Overtly Simple
  4.  The Delay

D. Pro Tips to put it all together

I will look to update this class periodically and upload future classes to cover all aspects of Public Speaking right here on Skill Share!!

Please note: All General Public Speaking Courses will be Marked with "Public Speaking 10X: (i.e. 101, 102, 103, etc)

Meet Your Teacher

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Armando Cuervo

Public Speaker and Gentleman!


Hello, I'm Armando Cuervo, 

The friendly neighborhood Toastmaster, Gentleman Gamer, Kung Fu Martial Artist, Dungeon Master and Enthusiast of Wrestling, Anime, Asian Dramas and other geeky stuff!

I started my courses here  to teach pass on my knowledge of Public Speaking, Entrepreneurship and self improvement. 

For ease of navigation and course structure, I have included a "Course Archive" Section. Hopefully, this will help you in following my lessons and getting the full learning experience without the added effort of finding all my material. In addition, I will be making updates to all my courses, since I have improved my recording and audio techniques since I have started and look to improve on the previous material presented!See full profile

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1. Course Introduction: Hello. I'm Ramana Corbeau, Toastmaster Gentlemen, gamer comfort martial artist, dungeon master and the juiciest of wrestling, enemy agent dramas and other geeky stuff. And I welcome you to my public speaking course, which is PS 103 How to begin your speech, a k a. The art of selecting the perfect opener. And in this case, we're becoming the first element of your speech. Only call the introduction primarily focusing on part B of the introduction section, which is to capture the audience interest or attention, a k a. The opening or opener. And if this all sounds just a bit foreign to you, I recommend checking out my public speaking course, which is PS 101 or uncover outlining your speech. Of course, if you already have basics down, just feel free to continue on. As I was saying, even though a daughter out presentation is important, a great opener for your speech is critical to its success. And if you start off week, you're not gonna get the desired outcome you're looking for. So I'm gonna be covering the falling in this course in order to make sure you have that killer opener to make for a great presentation. So we're gonna talk about the criteria for a successful opener as well as opening techniques you should be using and the ones you should not be using as well as protests. To put it all together, let's get started. 2. Criteria for the Perfect Opener: huh? So happy that you made it through my introduction. I now assume you're gonna be taking this learning stuff very seriously. As previously mentioned, the first moments of every speech are critical to its success. If they're boring, lifeless and unimaginative, the audience will quickly lose interest in the rest of your speech. However, and exciting and create beginning will keep the people's attention. It's the quotes of a first impression on a date. If you come off as on engaging or boring, your ditch public is gonna look at their phone for the rest of the night, and you're probably thinking, Why would they do that? Is because you've done messed up, brother. You lost our attention the very beginning and that second date not gonna happen. And the reason why you lost their attentions because you did not put the extra effort in order to make sure that you came off as interesting and that you got their attention. But don't worry. Your public speaking wing man here is going to make sure that I teach you the basics so you can get more dates or rather more public speaking opportunities in order to be more successful in life because there is no better way to be successful than to communicate your message and master the art off. Public speaking. Starting off with the basics, every successful opener meets the falling three criteria. You have to get the attention of the audience, introduced the topic. An established report. Simple so far. Great. So let's go into each one in more detail. Number one. Every successful opener will get the attention of the audience. Your goal in any speech or presentation is to draw the audience attentions from all of life's distractions towards you, the speaker and this seems very intuitive to do, but it's actually very difficult to dio. I mean, you are an essence competing against all of life's distractions. We're talking about cell phones, friends, their plans for the day. You have to be much more interesting than all of those stains and get the attention of the audience criteria. Number two is that every successful opener will introduce the topic. The beginning of the speech should indicate what you the speaker will be talking about, but more importantly, is your indicate why the audience should be interested in what you have to say because When listeners understand why a topic is beneficial to them, they will more likely pay attention. Criteria number three for every successful opener as days an opener should establish report . And the audience is so much more receptive to a speaker when you appear friendly or interested in them, or just as much if you show personal interest in the subject itself. Now there's many words that you can use to describe this phenomenon, but I can't call it the warm and fuzzies. Now you're probably thinking, Armando, how do I established a warm fuzzies? And I'm so glad you're asking that because there are so many ways that you could do that, such as smile, show enthusiasm, make eye contact. Of course, whatever you end up doing in order to establish the warm and fuzzies, you should make sure that you are genuine about it, because folks are so much more drawn to does who appear genuine or are Jenny and can easily pick up on a poser or fraudster. And you always hear the old saying that fake it until you make it. I don't believe in that because you should generally be happy about what you do 3. Opening Techniques # 1 & 2: we covered criteria. So now let's cover opening techniques. And it's important to note that when you discuss a techniques that there isn't a one size fit, all technique or opener, there really should be. But there isn't and open who can be personalized to suit your speeches specific objective or to spit your personality in the sense you can call it your own personal flair? Well, if you will now, the following techniques are not only for opening speeches but served multiple purposes that can help you calm your nerves. Give me clarity or, depending on where you are in process. It could help you come up with additional ideas for your presentation. So please consider the following seven techniques when opening your next speech technique Number one is to make a startling statement. Startle your audience with a statement that will compel them till this and further. For example, when presenting a speech about highway safety, you could start with the most destructive tool to ever have been created was probably the wheel In the United States alone, more than 4.5 million Americans were involved in an auto accident, as demonstrated the idea behind this startling statement ideal is to shock the audience with a a fact, a statistic or just an outrageous statement. This is a common technique that could be used in most presentation that could be used to persuade them, for instance, to just wear their seat belt. Or maybe I just want to inform them on how likely they are to be involved in an auto accident. Because 4.5 million Americans is a lot of Americans, and using numbers that are factual could very well startle your audience to continue listening to you. Checking number two is to state the importance of your topic now. This is the little straightforward of all the techniques because you simply tell the audience why the topic is important to them. One tip or way to make sure that the importance is obvious is by using the Witham ideal. Now, what's with him? You're probably asking with whom stands for what's in it for me. The purpose of wisdom is to make sure that there is a perceived benefit indicated to your listeners. For example, when you give a speech to promote the use of sunscreen, you can only start by saying we hear and South Florida love looking great by having a nice tan. But over exposures to those subs raise could prematurely age your skin, not to mention calls. Other skin disorders, such as you guessed it skin cancers does. It's important to protect yourself from the sons harmful rays, as demonstrated. You just told the audience that they need to listen to you because you are now are going to give them a perceived benefit, which is to protect themselves from a perceived danger. It's all about than perceiving or the perception that your information is valuable. This technique is perfect for any speech requiring the audience to take a particular action as probably the most effective overall, once again because people will listen more when they perceive that they will benefit from your information. 4. Opening Techniques # 3, 4 & 5: The third technique that you should use to open up your speeches is to arouse suspense or curiosity, meaning use a series of statements related to the topic that will pique your listeners interests. The best part of this technique is that can be used for a variety of topics. Rather, it's serious or humorous. For example, if a speech about the Second World War you could start with the following war two was a pivotal time in history and, thankfully, the access powers lost. But think for a moment, the following how close were we to all speaking German? Believe it or not, a lot closer than you may know, because if not for the following three events occurring, the Axis powers would have won. I see, as demonstrated, a very serious toned speech. But what I did was solely reveal statements towards what was the objective of my presentation, which waas three events that could have changed the Axis powers fate in the war. Let's pick for such a serious example and go to a more light hearted one and talk about our favorite foods, for example. Jeez is by far one of my most favorite foods, but one must ask what was going to the mine off the first guy who milked the cow, See what I did there? Hopefully in the example, the delivery was good enough to make your left. But what I did was leave a pause in between me saying, one must ask to what was going to the line of the guy milk in the first cow. This pause in between these two statements is sometimes called the dramatic pause. The purpose of the pause is to not only allow the audience to take in which you're about to say or what you're saying, but also allow them a moment of silence to make him think, What's he about to say next or what's this guy thinking? You see, this is creating a level of anticipation and engagement. And if you can establish this level of engagement, this isn't an excellent measure of how successful your opener now is. Technique number four is to tell a story or anecdote telling a tale a story, an anecdote. Rather, it's amusing, dramatic or exciting. The purpose of a story is to arouse the interest of your audience and get them involved now keeping story revel into your main points of the speech is important, but it's also good whenever possible to personalize your story, because personalizing the story makes it more relatable. For example, we're giving a speech about hunting. You will try to avoid a beginning that starts with. For instance, two men were hunting in the woods one day. That's very the land and nondescript you could say. Instead, my brother and I went deer hunting last week in the woods behind my house with our new Remington rifles, and then you proceed with story. The idea is, is that when you give a speech, you should always try to use an opener that creates ward pictures. Now, word pictures are basically statements that you're making that have additional detail in colorful language. The idea of making these word pictures is that you're making it easier for your audience to visualize what you're talking about, getting them more involved. You can use this in the opener. You can use this in the body of your speech. You can using the conclusion of your speech. Idiot is create as many word pictures as you can. By the way, protest when you give a story, try to keep that opening story to about 30 to maybe 60 seconds. The idea is that you don't want to distract the audience so much from what is the purpose of your speech. If you kind of give a sales presentation, you probably want to avoid a long story that will make him say, Well, I mean, I just wanted hear about your hunt. You're hunting, vacation or whatever. Wasser. Your hunting trip. I don't want to hear about pressure cookers you're selling. I mean, the idea is trying to avoid a long story. If it could potentially distract you from what your main objective is, keep it to about 30 to 60 seconds. The fifth technique that you can use to open up your speech is to ask a rhetorical question , or, in this case, asking a question or a series of questions that relate to your topic is great for directly involving your audience. The purpose of this is that when you ask the question, the audience will think about the answers to the questions you just asked and dust focus on the topic, for example, and I speak about some defense. A speaker could begin by asking, Do you know what you would do if someone pulled a nap on you? Do you know how you would react when every second counted? See what did there. The question I just asked, presented a visual for the audience. Truth be told, I'm not asking the question because I want an immediate answer, but rather the purpose of it is to get the only is involved in your presentation. Do free to incorporate pauses in between your questions by the late protest. Have you ever seen a speaker? Sometimes a by show of hands. How many have you linked rather true Co. Or pull it skydive? Or, for the purposes of the example, just gave its How many of you have felt you were in mortal danger, which this physical Q is really good and it's fine to do in this type of example. But make sure that when you ask the questions or you do the physical que that you allow some pauses in between your questions to allow the audience to be involved effectively 5. Opening Techniques # 6 & 7 + Misc: technique number sex that you can use in order to open up your speech is to use a quote a K quotation. Now, using a quotation or quote is an easy and effective way to attract the attention of the audience. Now quotes keep in mind. Oh, they should be short and related to your speech topic, but they do a lot of things for speeches such as at authority. Amusement, I think, is dramatize your main points now. A good example was when you want to make a speech on how to be more charismatic or, as I say, more charismatic because it is spelt charisma, supposed to charisma. But that's besides the point. So let's quote Ric Flair, for instance, the vegetable Ric Flair once said, Top, be a man. Yeah, I got a big demand Blue lime Ric flair on the style profiling, limousine riding, jet wine, kiss stealing, willing, dealing some a gun, no see quotes or amazing. They do everything for speeches, especially when you get them from professional wrestling Technique. Number seven that you could use to open up your speech is to reference the ocasion in the let's face backs. Creativity is not everyone strong suit. And fortunately, there are ways that you can come up with a creative opening by just referencing the event or acknowledging the occasion you're speaking for. This type of opener allows the speaker to recognize the importance of the occasion and to establish a connection directly with the audience. One good example is, if you were a guest of honor at a graduation commencement sermon, I would say something along the lines as this, Ladies and gentlemen, I remember when I was in the same seat as you are today. I felt proud of my hard work in the journey I underwent to get there. I was at the same event over a decade ago at this very university and just like you, the only thought running through my mind. Waas I never ever want to read another textbook ever again. You see, this technique is seemingly the easiest to come up with because the materials technically being provided for you by the Virgin of the event that you're attending and you connect with the audience by relating yourself to them and saying that you all hate textbooks or rather other favorable dates. But remember when, when you come up with this opener, reference the event. But you should research the audience beforehand because you could establish other connections that have more favourable aspects, such as their favorite professor of the rival school, their school mascot or other warm and fuzzy topics that can help you more easily identify yourself with the audience. The before mentioned techniques are frequently used, but by far not the only ones you could use. A very popular option is humor, especially self deprecating humor, which is my preferred technique. And it's something that can be easily incorporated into any of the other openers that we've discussed today. Another popular option is a demonstration or audience participation, where the perfect example is a salsa dancing demonstration where you get an audience member and you do a couple of steps with, um, maybe go back to back side to side to a little spin. Basically, if you are a good salsa dancer, you can probably do a good demonstration and lead the audience member in the dance. But we're egos of whatever technique you use. The important part about an opener is that the approach you use should be related to the topic as well as be appropriate for the audience or the occasion because of its not appropriate for any of those, you may want to consider a different open. 6. Openers to Avoid: up until now, I told you everything that you should be doing in order to have a killer speech opener Dough. I believe in every good public speaking course There should be a specific section on what you should not be doing. So in this section, I'm gonna be talking about all the things that should not be done during your speech opener . And as your public speaking wing man, I'm gonna make sure that you don't crash and burn and make the same mistakes that I made. The first open emission avoid is admitting a lack of preparation. And if you ask me, what does this mean? Well, take the following example. Thank you all for coming. I was informed to that as of yesterday that I would be speaking, so hopefully this speech will not be all that bad. And I know we've all heard this one before because I myself have used it, and I thought back then on and it's him self deprecating humor to my speech. James ST namo prepared. It's gonna show that I was blindsided by assignment. We've all been there before. I didn't originally plan to be there. I thought I was humanizing myself to the audience and somehow establishing the connection. But through experience, I found out later that an attempt to be funny, what I was really saying was, I'm no credibility. You should listen to me. I'm not worth your time to listen to right now. You want this this project or this presentations have fast. Don't even listen to me. I know that sounds kind of heart saying that it was half past, but here's the important part and again, it sounds harsh, but nobody needs to know how much time you put into a presentation. Remember in a presentation, you're the authority figure or the expert on the topic. If you basically say that you spent very little time and preparing it, you effectively invalidated your presentation. You never really need to tell somebody how much time you put into it. Unless, of course, let's say it's part of the speech to indicate how much time you put into the project. Now I'm in no way saying that you shouldn't lie about a topic or claim to be an expert of something when you aren't. I'm just saying that you should not outright diminishing credibility by telling others. Why they should distrust you. To begin with. That's just not good speech ing skills. The second opener you should avoid is apologizing or promising to be quick. And I've seen this the most, as Faras openers are concerned because and it literally bothers me to no end because it goes something like this. Hey, folks, I'll try to make this quick because I know we all have things to do and people to see, and I know that that seems like a funny opener. But it's actually my least favorite because it's the most counterproductive to what your objective is. It should be your pleasure to present to the audience not an obligation or burn. Basically, you're saying that nobody wants to be there, and it's probably true. Maybe no one wants to be there. It's like work. But when you apologize to the audience, you basically diminishing that only your credibility. But you're also telling the audience I am boring and there is little value in what I have to say. It may seem like a funny opening, but when I hear it effectively, you're dead to me, I shut down mentally, there's really no reason to listen to you now there are alternatives that you can say that . Basically say this, but it's mawr productive to your objective. For instance, try saying, I believe we have about 20 minutes before the dinner party. So let's all try to make this the most exciting 20 minutes you will have tonight. See very different. Because not only did you say that a way got we're gonna try to wrap this up. I'm gonna try to make it really, really fun for you. Very, very different, A lot more productive. And it's so much better than saying you're going to try to make it quick. The third opener you should avoid is being overtly simple ache a dull, boring or bland. And yes, it's true. Listeners need to be informed. But remember, many listeners still want to be entertained, captivated, motivated and inspired. If you start off of a bland beginning, it, no matter how good your information might be, you lose them at the beginning, which means that your information will be lost. A good example of this would be, for instance, you could start off today. My speech is about the upcoming game releases. 4 2019 And, as you can see, nothing too special about that. Yes, there might be some really interesting video games coming out by Capcom, but if you didn't get them at the very beginning again, it might be lost. So what I would do if I was given such an amazing speech opportunity is I will talk about the first time I played Street Fighter two in the arcade at the Swap shop in South Florida , and how I would have bet bags of quarters just to play those in in order to do the Dukan by value over two and bison. And from there I will talk about how how these newest fighting games air coming out this year would bring back those same memories. It make me feel like a kid again. That's a lot more inspiring, A lot more captivating than just saying I'm gonna talk about video games coming up this year. I'm talking about what? Why games are so important to me and why I fell in love with video games. To begin with the fourth Open Ilyushin a boy is the delay, and by this I mean delaying the mention off your topic one perfect example of this is Imagine that your ATM influential conference and you start with the following. You have all come to this conference today in anticipation of delving deeper into the world of men's style. The title. My speech today is what we're gonna get to that in a few moments. I know what you're thinking, Armando. What you're just talking about aroused curiosity and suspense. I'm just trying to create anticipation towards my presentation, man. That's all I'm trying to do. And yes, that might be the case if you're famous celebrity. The reason I say this is because the audience will generally not know the subject matter and purpose of your message on us again. You're very well known. If you delay, they may lose focus and go to their phones or start chatting among themselves, you see, So the only time this is really useful is it. Again, you're famous for something. If you're not famous than the delay is not very effective now. There are a few exceptions to where it could be useful or good or acceptable is when there's already a presenter, such as a master of ceremonies, where they announce your topic prior to introducing you to the audience. But then again, the weakness of this technique is not so much that you're not famous. Is that you have the potential of losing your audiences Focus. 7. Pro-Tips: we're doing excellent so far. Just to summarize, we covered the criteria of every successful opener speech openers you should be using as well as does that you should not be using. But there is no better teacher, then experience. Unfortunately, I've done this enough where I can give you three additional pro tips for you to put it all together. What's number one Bright? Your opener and introduction actor. You have developed your speech body. Now most would think that you would want to write the beginning of your speech at the very beginning because that's the chronological order that you're gonna be going. But that's not always the case. Some people, right, the beginning, other speech after they developed the speech body. You're going to see it in the hand out that this is one of the elements of your speech, and the reason why do you want to write it after you develop the body of your speech is because this can help you coolly identify the important points that you want to emphasize in your presentation by known what you're going to present. You can then create an introduction in the manner which is most appropriate to suit the speech in its objective. It's very hard to determine what technique you may want to use if you don't quite know what your objective is or what you're gonna be talking about. So by doing in this way and makes it easier to come up with a killer intro to your speech, the second protest issue, remember, is to memorize your opener or opening. Once you have read the beginning, memorize it so you do not have to refer to notes. Now memorized, Polished introduction helps to establish self confidence as well as credibility and report with your audience. Note. Notes are acceptable during the body of your presentation because facts and figures air so much more difficult to remember that spur of the moment. But opener should appear natural in free of reminders and notes, because if you doesn't feel natural, it seems staged and then you don't really build the same report with your audience. And the third protest that you should remember is that your opener should not be excessively long Now. Good rule done for this is that the opener should take less than 5 to 10% of your entire speech time for example, in normal 10 minute presentation should have an open that's approximately 30 seconds to about one minute. And the reason for this is because the majority of presentations should be spent focused on the body of the speech. I know we just spent an hour or so discussing about how to have a killer opener, but you should try to avoid having what's called the mini speech within a speech. Also, by giving an opener too much time, you may take away from the importance of your overall message. You don't really want to do that. So do you Remember, and open of that is too short is not as noticeable of a problem as a opener. That is too long. So if your introduction seems a little short, you will more than make up for it with the body of the speech in the conclusion. But you never want to extend it too far because it will take away from your objective and your message 8. Conclusion on How to Start your Speech: Congratulations. You all you've just completed PS 103 have to begin your speech. The art of selecting the perfect opener. Boy, that was obnoxious. But that's okay. Back to task at hand. And I like to conclude today by saying that selecting a dynamic beginning is essential for a successful speech. I do ask that you take the extra time to creating exciting and imaginative opener that will grab your listeners attention and keep them focused on you throughout your presentation. Remember that first impressions can be lasting impressions, so ensure that the first impression you give is positive by using one of the techniques as discussed today. As for cost Simon's I provided a few examples for you to follow up on an or deflect your creativity muscles. So feel free to practice them in front of a mirror or a small group of friends. And also I could be a resource for you. So please feel free to this is the resource section where it has handouts as well as exercises that can expand this course even further. Do greatly appreciate. And I'm greatly honored by the fact that you chose to watch me today and go on this learning journey together, especially when this rule is so filled with distractions. So I will see you in the next lesson.